I’ve been a huge fan of the “Kingdom” games ever since the first game came out. At the time, it honestly felt innovative almost in its approach with the Pixel Art Sidescroll aesthetic – something that Lakeside has going for it as well – and its Colony Sim and Strategy elements.
And eventually, Kingdom New Lands and Kingdom Two Crowns dropped with many other expansions to it that brought their own twists to the formula. I even got to talk to one of the Kingdom Devs, Gordon Van Dyke, at the first Gamescom I attended back in 2019, which has been… amazing. It’s like meeting your heroes, kinda, haha.
Anyway, Kingdom has come a long way, naturally, and only recently, I found out about Kingdom Eighties which adds neon nostalgia to the Kingdom formula – and I for one am incredibly excited about playing it once it releases in Q4 of 2022!
The ominous Greed are threatening a small town, which is why a gang of kids is dragged into an epic struggle to save their neighbourhood!
Honestly, it’s odd how well it works together and today I’m sharing an interview I did with Naseer Alkhouri from Raw Fury about exactly that: How did Kingdom Eighties happen?
How come that Fury Studios is now working on a Kingdom game?
So, Noio did Kingdom and Kingdom New Lands and they wanted to experiment with something new. We [however] felt like Kingdom deserved to continue existing, so we both had a mutual agreement when they sold us the IP – but they still have the directorial freedom. So, we get their feedback but we develop the games.
What’s the most exciting or fun part about working on Kingdom Eighties?
Basically, moving in two directions and only having those two directions forces you to be really creative with how you can deepen the gameplay with only three button presses in 2D.
So, that was really fun, coming up with new ideas to make it work, challenge players, and surprise them.
In what ways does Kingdom Eighties innovate the Kingdom formula?
It’s in the 80s. It’s in the future.
What we’ve done here is… the hermits from before, they’ve become more of their own characters. So, for example, the nerd, the jock, we have a hacker – and we can use those modern thingies to help you defeat the Greed in unique and exciting ways!
There are these archetypes we can use from the 1980s and the Arcade, power it up that way, instead of defending a medieval town against the Greed. That’s how we add different layers to the game.
What was your biggest inspiration for taking this game into this direction specifically?
Stranger Things happened and we went like “This is really cool, so we should do something about it… but with our own twists.” – And like, the Greed have existed for thousands of years in this game, so we have a few surprises in store for you as well.
What were some of the hardest parts that working on Kingdom Eighties entailed?
That’s so funny because technically, this game consists of so many layers. It’s layer upon layer upon layer. To make it run smoothly – which is something you wouldn’t expect from a 2D game. But it’s so complex and there is such beauty to it. Keeping it running smoothly has been a big challenge.
And also, how to balance frustrations against zen. Because you get both in this game. A lot of [people] say: “It’s zen, it’s relaxing” – but we have Bloodmoons where players get hit hard by the Greed and that’s really stressful. So, how do you make players who want “zen” not ragequit? So, yeah, that’s also a big challenge.
It was an absolute pleasure to talk to Naseer about Kingdom Eighties (and game dev!) and honestly, it surprised me that performance and balancing were the biggest challenges for this game.
As you may be able to tell, Kingdom Eighties appears to play at some sort of summer camp or school of sorts and you play as a kid… on a bike… and you go into the dark forest and fight off the aforementioned Greed.
It’s amazing how it fits together so well – and it’s less surprising that Stranger Things has been such a big inspiration. I really gotta watch that show at some point.
Anyway, as mentioned previously, Kingdom Eighties is set to release in Q4 2022. You can wishlist it on Steam right now, though, and it’s a great way to support the developers even before the release and even without spending money. Also, it keeps you up to date if you follow the game and social media channels.
And as mentioned in the other interview posts, there is one more question I asked Naseer Alkhouri about game dev – and I’ll reveal that answer in another post, coming in the near future. Look forward to that!